Posted by psgels on 13 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews

Well, so that’s it for this season. Anime News Network reports that the second airing of Haruhi is only going to take up 28 episodes. Since there now have been fourteen episodes of the second season aired, a quick bit of math shows that the final episodes are going to be the ones that were left over from the first season.

Anyway, the “Second Season” of Haruhi is a bit of a misleading title. It’s not really a sequel, but rather a collection of episodes that fit in between the episodes of the first season, with the purpose to flesh out the cast a bit more. It consists out of three arcs: the Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody, Endless Eight and the Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya.

The Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody is pretty nice. It’s a bit of backstory for the lead character Haruhi, which is of course always welcome. It just takes up one episode, and is pretty enjoyable. Endless Eight on the contrary takes up a whopping eight episodes, and basically consist out of the same episode repeated again and again and again, just with the animation and voice-work redone. However, these episodes can be easily skipped: only the first and the last matter, while the middle ones are still a nice enough slice of life to watch in those cases when you’re really, really bored.

My main problem with this series came at the start of the Sigh of Haruhi, though. One of my main complaints with the first season already was that Haruhi was incredibly annoying, and she really proves that again in this arc. The arc is also way too long, so her ramblings just go on and on and on. The rest of the cast could have made up for it, but during this arc they acted way too much like the stereotypes they avoided so well throughout the first season: Kyon becomes continuously horny for Mikuru, Mikuru continuously becomes a crybaby, Tsuruya is hyperactive and weird 100% of the time. I mean come on, give us some subtlety here!

Thankfully, the arc closes off with the best two episodes of the second season. The semi-final episode made a very good point, and the final episode finally shows that the scriptwriters put in some effort again, returning the series back to its former subtlety.

Overall though, the first season simply is better than the second. Not only did the second merely function to flesh out the characters, but you can also see that less effort was put into it. A lot of the episodes lack the detailed dialogue of the first season, and the animation, while still rich and detailed, suddenly started looking way too much like K-On and Kyoani’s other moe shows during the climaxes. Seriously, the characters for this series were already moe enough; you really don’t have to add even more to it…

The first season, while it also definitely had its annoying parts in the episodic fillers, did have its excellent first arc. but the second season has a lot less episodes that really deliver. Nevertheless, I really doubt that this is going to be the last of this series, and the second season nevertheless was a pretty decent slice of life series. I still like that Kyoani, during this time of an economic crisis, still is willing to try out daring concepts. At least, in some of their shows… Yes Munto, I’m looking at you.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 7/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

12 Responses

  1. Avatar blkmage says:

    The interesting thing about your grievances with Sighs is that they make sense if you look at the chronology and the light novel releases. That’s not to say that they’re not warranted (I wasn’t a huge fan of Sighs when I read it) but it does demystify them.

    Why is Haruhi annoying? Because Sighs takes place before Live Alive, when her character really starts to change for the first time.

    Why does Sighs seem poorly written? Probably because it’s the second light novel volume and the author hasn’t gotten the hang of writing those characters yet. Other than the first arc (which made up the first volume), all of the short one-offs that seem to be written better are chapters from the third and fifth volumes.

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Hmm, why Haruhi is annoying is a very good question. For starters, I rather dislike her voice actress: Hirano Aya seems to try way too much to stand out, but lacks the subtlety that the rest of the cast has. What also counts is that she’s meant to be an annoying girl whose personality is hard to like, which is why I was delighted by episode 4 of the sigh, which made an entire point of it.

    To be honest, the thing I like about this series best are the quiet moments. The things as the baseball match, spacefight, concert and island trip were rather dull to watch, and yet Haruhi just kept dragging the cast into them, which is another reason why I dislike her.

  3. Avatar i-k says:

    Second Season was really disappointing. The best part was the first episode IMO, it reminded me of what I liked about the original series in the first place.

  4. Avatar senerikfred says:

    As you seem to have noticed, the purpose of the second novel is to bring Haruhi on to a ‘must-hate’ level. Since reading the later novels, I’ve really liked her-she’s unique for someone who’s randomly in the middle of weird events, and is capable of both being unnecessarily proactive in combating boredom, and possessing a surpringly well-considered, even mature, perspective(the self-centeredness wears off a little). Sighs is generally seen as being not as enjoyable as the other volumes, but necessary development that pays off in the long run. Though spending THAT much time on E8 was a farce(even the effect they were going for could’ve been achieved in four episodes), I’m glad that Kyoani did go out of their way to animate Sighs-I had assumed they wouldn’t risk the rage value, and instead skip to Disappearance.

    Something ironic about the Haruhi novels, which can be amusing or disappointing depending on your perspective, is that Melancholy and Sighs are the only volumes that can be said to focus on Haruhi herself. The short stories vary in focus, but turn to the supporting cast much more often, and of the five ‘continuous plot’ volumes we’ve had so far, two were Melancholy+Sighs, one focused on Nagato, one on Asahina, and the most recent on some entirely new characters and plot elements.
    What I’m trying to say is, don’t let the expectations you have be hurt too much. As long as Kyoani doesn’t pull anything stupid again, that is. Sure they can be daring, but they’re almost as worrying as being around Haruhi herself would be.

  5. Avatar WatcherZero says:

    While dissapointed that this series was advertised with dissapearance and yet we got an 8 part endless eight. I think the problem with sigh was it was actually too short and compressed, you get all the shouting of haruhi without some space to chill out between her rants or for the other charachters to interact. My favoutite ep and the only one that matches the first series quality is def. Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody.

  6. Avatar Tangent says:

    So you’re saying that a season where you should skip almost half of the episodes, and you were disappointed in all but two or three of the rest was pretty good?

  7. Avatar David says:

    I want the third season, I loved the new episodes, of course not the endless eight episodes

  8. Avatar Celeste says:

    If you watch Endless Eight straight through while high, you focus more on the animation and the mannerisms of the characters and the music (which actually changes with each episode). It is kind of relaxing, actually. I think I’d have been pissed if I was watching fansubs as they were freshly released, mind you. ^^; This is why I always wait for a show to be done then watch it straight through, as it minimizes things like this. Planning~

    senerikfred: you pretty much sum it up. I’m looking forward to a third season. Eightless Eight will one day seem more quirky than rage-inducing, hehe.

  9. Avatar Celeste says:

    Note: Anyone who takes an education degree will notice that many highly talented/gifted students (like Haruhi) often come across as narcissistic, arrogant, and/or condescending. Often because they perceive the world so differently, they can have serious issues connecting with people. I’ve known plenty of students just like Haruhi, except without the metaphysical stuff, haha. They often grow into very interesting, awesome human beings, but there is often an adjustment period.

    Knowing the character will progress helps me empathize with her.

  10. Avatar Logan says:

    Im late to the party, but I still will say something. SHUT UP ABOUT ENDLESS EIGHT. WE GET IT ALREADY. GET OVER IT. Now that thats out of my system, I thoroughly enjoyed it all. E8 did get tedious after 4 episodes, i can see that, but by now, I be youre all glad they held out and didnt include the Disappearance arc, as it became an exceptionally beautiful movie. As for all the complaining, about Miss Suzumiya, THATS THE POINT. She was supposed to have an abrasive, unlikable personality. Thats the appealing part. Shes supposed to be hated, that way, your emotions are that more valuable when her character development starts. Im late, Im done, good day.

  11. Avatar Paolo says:

    guys, I think I get it.. About the endless eight! The episodes were made to loop to let everyone experience how yuki nagato felt… but of course for only eight times (compared to 15500+) But that’s only my guess anyway. If you really think about it, it really makes sense..

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